I have to use the word misplaced as opposed to lost, when it comes to religion.
I grew up on a military base with a chapel that served the religious needs of active duty service members and their dependents. We had two denominations, Catholic and Protestant. I grew up as a Protestant.
From an early age, I attended church with my parents on Sunday, then off to Sunday School and as I got older Bible Study and Youth Ministries. I spent three days a week in church. I was always very fearful of God. I intended to stay on the “good” path in life so I would not go to hell.
When my dad returned from Vietnam after his second tour, we left the states and moved to Italy. He announced that we did not need to attend church anymore because he had killed people and was not worthy of being in God’s house. Mom and I still attended Sunday Service right up until my dad left us. I was 18. Though I did not attend church, I still read the bible and still prayed and had my own little service in my room on Sundays.
The first time I misplaced my religion was at age 19. I wanted to get married in church so I went to the chapel and had a conversation with the Priest (our Chaplain was stateside) and told him I wanted to have a church wedding and could he oversee it. I knew we were of different religious beliefs, but that didn’t matter to me, and I didn’t think it would matter to him. Despite that we were all of God’s children, right? What happened in that conversation was totally unexpected. The Priest made no mention of our religious differenced, instead, he stated that he couldn’t perform the service with a clear conscience because my intended and I were not of the same race. He posed the question of, “why would you consider this knowing you will have mixed children that will have to struggle in and unaccepting society?” Hello, 1978.
I walked out of that chapel, feeling absolutely disgusted and as I looked to the sky I posed my own question to this God I so feared, “why would you let someone like that speak for you?” It was a very long time before I entered a church again. I suppose at some point, I found the religion I’d misplaced, only to misplace it again and eventually lose it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a belief system and I do feel there is a power greater than me, than us, but I empowered myself and redefined my beliefs so that embracing that Higher Power is not steeped in fear. I believe in benevolence and love, and I also believe it is inside all of us. Sometimes we just have to dig a little deeper to find it.